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Report: Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Will Cost Less This Year

By CM Chaney · November 18, 2023

In brief…

  • AFBF says cost of Thanksgiving meal for 10 is down 4.5% from 2021
  • Turkey, whipping cream, stuffing among items dropping in price
  • Still above pre-pandemic 2019 levels but relief from last year
  • Helped by easing avian flu impact on turkey production
  • Grocery inflation still an issue for households per some experts
The American Farm Bureau Federation found the cost of a classic Thanksgiving meal for 10 people will be 4.5% cheaper than last year, aided by falling turkey prices resulting from an easing avian influenza impact.  Ben Franske / Wikimedia

The cost of Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people will be lower this year compared to 2021, according to a new analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

The group’s annual study on Thanksgiving meal prices found that a classic Turkey Day spread for 10, including staples like turkey, stuffing, rolls, veggies, and pie, will cost $61.17 on average this year. That’s down 4.5% from last year’s average of $64.05.

Many staples like turkey, whipping cream, stuffing mix, pie crusts, peas, and milk are cheaper than in 2021. The biggest price drop was for whipping cream, which fell 22.8%. Turkey prices are also down 5.6% after spiking over 20% last year.

“Traditionally, the turkey is the most expensive item on the Thanksgiving dinner table,” said AFBF economist Veronica Nigh. “Turkey prices have fallen thanks to a sharp reduction in cases of avian influenza, which have allowed production to increase in time for the holiday.”

The farm group’s market basket of Thanksgiving items included a 16-lb turkey for $27.35, stuffing mix for $3.77, pie crusts for $3.50, peas for $1.88, and milk for $3.74. Rolls, sweet potatoes, veggies, cranberries, pumpkin pie mix, and ingredients saw smaller increases.

While prices are up from pre-pandemic levels in 2019, the drop from last year should provide relief. Average weekly earnings are also up 3.2% over the last year as of October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Still, some economists say high grocery prices continue burdening households.

“Consumers will remember last year, just how much of a big increase last year was,” said Maclyn Clouse of the University of Denver.

The AFBF conducts its informal survey using data from volunteer shoppers across all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

Here are the average prices of items, according to the Farm Bureau:

- 16-pound turkey: $27.35 or $1.71 per pound (down 5.6%)

- 14 ounces of cubed stuffing mix: $3.77 (down 2.8%) 

- 2 frozen pie crusts: $3.50 (down 4.9%)

- Half pint of whipping cream: $1.73 (down 22.8%)

- 1 pound of frozen peas: $1.88 (down 1.1%)

- 1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.84 (up 2.9%)

- Misc. ingredients to prepare the meal: $3.95 (down 4.4%)

- 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $4.44 (up 3.7%)

- 1 gallon of whole milk: $3.74 (down 2.6%)

- 3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.97 (up .3%)

- 1-pound veggie tray (carrots and celery): $0.90 (up 2.3%)

- 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.10 (down 18.3%)